Medical histories play an important role in many of the decisions made for the health of your child. Medical histories should include information about allergies, pre-existing conditions, medications that produce adverse physical reactions in your child, immunization records, prior surgeries and hospitalizations, and any other detail of note. These details all play crucial roles in maintaining the health and happiness of your child, whether thinking about what to make for lunch, or how to handle an emergency.
Additionally, a child’s medical history should include information about their biological family’s medical history. In the last thirty years, the medical community has grown to recognize the increasingly valuable nature of one’s biological heredity. Looking at a family tree, individuals and their doctors can identify patterns of disease and other medical conditions. With this knowledge, doctors can calculate overall risk toward some conditions. Preventive care can then be administered to counteract increased risk for some diseases. This preventive care can be the key to long-term health.
Obtaining a thorough medical history of your adopted child is especially vital, and many adoption agencies provide medical histories as part of their adoption services. Of course the medical history won’t prepare you for everything; Allergies, asthma, and any variety of conditions may develop over time, throughout your child’s life span. But for each different type of child adoption, you may have different types of records to seek out and collect. Here’s a guide to what ought to be expected for each type of adoption.
If you’re adopting a newborn baby within the US, there are several different types of records that may be available. Prenatal records are one type. A prenatal record will show the status of the mother during the pregnancy, reflecting nutritional assessments, milestones during the pregnancy, any problems she encountered in that time, and other important notes from exams, tests, and questionnaires. If the mother underwent any blood tests during or before the pregnancy, the results of this blood test should be recorded, too.
SEE ALSO: The Importance of Post Adoption Services
When adopting a newborn, another record to look for includes documents that shine a light on all the details of the birth. Make sure that all the basics are covered, not just weight and length, but other details that are less often recalled, like the baby’s gestational age. Any detail that is recorded, any symptom at all, is worth keeping.
In the adoption of an older aged child, all the records of the newborn should be expected, or sought out independently. But as an older child has lived longer, there will be other details that are necessary to know. Seek out as much information as is available on any type of surgery, hospitalization, or check-up that the child underwent. Also gather information on the child’s milestones in developing: what age was she when she began talking? In complete sentences, or at all? When was he able to walk, run, etc.?
As the new mother or father of this child, it may be exciting and wonderful to learn the date of your son or daughter’s great developmental achievements. However, creating of concept of your child’s development is more than a celebration of her – it’s also an important part of understanding her overall health needs.
Each country is different in their standards and practices for record collection, so it’s hard to speak very precisely about what can be expected in international adoptions. It’s best to make contacts and enter into conversations directly with any adoption agencies or orphanages that you plan to visit. It’s also good to see what other people’s experiences have been in adopting from other countries. The details above point out all the different types of medical records that you may expect or seek out when considering adoption.
So far, this article has covered the different types of records that one may seek out. But beyond these records, it can be helpful to collect stories and details by word of mouth, in interviews or correspondence with your child’s biological family. Many different diseases and conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, may be revealed as patterns in family history. In order to see these patterns, it is extremely valuable to gather facts on the entire biological family’s medical history.
See what you can learn about any details from aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. Ancestry is another important key. Knowing the ancestry and ethnicity of your child, getting as specific as possible, can help for the same reasons; there are diseases that some races are particularly susceptible to, for example. Of course, if it feels too invasive to inquire about so many people, follow your intuition if it tells you to stop asking questions. But for preventive care and risk assessments, the more detailed the picture is of your child’s inherited biological traits, the more likely you will be able to keep him safe and healthy.
Access to these records will always vary, on a case-by-case basis. Depending on whether you are working with an adoption agency, an attorney, a foreign government, or a birthmother directly, be sure to identify your advocate, and the person who can help you, and who will understand that your need for this information is important. Ask for their help, and be vigilant and hopeful. With all the love you have as a new parent, you will surely gain the insight and courage to do what’s best for your child, regardless of what is known or unknown.